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as in: oppressive government Define
to dominate harshly and unfairly (as in "oppressive government") or: to deny equal rights to others or make them suffer (as in "The government oppresses minorities.")
  • The regime oppresses its people.
  • My work environment is oppressive.

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  • Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
    Elie Wiesel (Nobel Acceptance Speech)
  • An enlisted man in a Texas cavalry regiment told his sister in 1861 that just as their forefathers had rebelled against King George to establish "Liberty and freedom in this western world …. so we dissolved our alliance with this oppressive foe and are now enlisted in ’The Holy Cause of Liberty and Independence’ again."
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  • ...and let the oppressed go free.
    Frederick Douglass  --  The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • It is the only weapon of the weak and oppressed against the strength of their tyrants.
    Harriet Jacobs  --  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • ...the people do not wish to be ruled nor oppressed by the nobles,
    Nicolo Machiavelli  --  The Prince
  • We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor;
    Martin Luther King, Jr.  --  Letter from a Birmingham Jail
  • All vestiges of the feudal system with its oppression of the poor were abolished.
    Athol Fugard  --  Master Harold...and the Boys
  • I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.  --  I Have a Dream

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  • So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun...
    The Bible  --  Ecclesiastes
  • One of the girls had read somewhere that a red flag was the proper symbol for oppressed workers, and so they mounted one, and paraded all about the yards, yelling with rage.
    Upton Sinclair  --  The Jungle
  • If the mere imposition of a tax could raise such a tumult what should be the result of the terrible system of oppression instituted by the Yankees?
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  • Nevertheless, he wrote to his mother in 1862, "I joyfully embrace it as a means of repelling a dastardly, plundering, oppressive, and cowardly foe from our homes and borders…."
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  • His destiny is to rise, to help his people overthrow their oppressors.
    Sabaa Tahir  --  An Ember in the Ashes
  • Here, though, there are no oppressors.
    Dave Eggers  --  The Circle
  • Two torn shoes, the symbol of immorality, were hung around her neck, along with a sign that read, SANG HONG-ZHEN, OPPRESSOR OF THE YOUNG, DESERVES TEN THOUSAND DEATHS.
    Ji-Li Jiang  --  Red Scarf Girl
  • He showed himself again as the friend of the people, the petit peuple, as he liked to call them, and he punished their oppressors.
    V.S. Naipaul  --  A Bend in the River
  • It would be pleasant to speak a language other than that of an oppressor.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • The love he had for his people and the hatred he had for their oppressor were too vast for the wolf’s body, too human.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Eclipse
  • My dear cousin, you may as well understand, once for all, that we masters are divided into two classes, oppressors and oppressed.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe  --  Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • "Do you suppose," Mr. Lorry went on, with a laughing twinkle in his bright eye, as it looked kindly at her, "that Doctor Manette has any theory of his own, preserved through all those years, relative to the cause of his being so oppressed; perhaps, even to the name of his oppressor?"
    Charles Dickens  --  A Tale of Two Cities
  • —Is he turned thief and oppressor?
    Sir Walter Scott  --  Ivanhoe
  • I don’t want the mother to embrace the oppressor who threw her son to the dogs!
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Brothers Karamazov
  • I would thou couldst; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The law’s delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take, In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn In customary suits of solemn black, But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns, Breathes forth contagion on the world, And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i’ the adage, Is sicklied o’er with…
    Mark Twain  --  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Was this her idea of "throwing off the yoke of oppressor man?"
    Olive Ann Burns  --  Cold Sassy Tree
  • At the time, I looked on the white man not as an oppressor but as a benefactor, and I thought the chief was enormously ungrateful.
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • …del Toboso, fairest of the fair! since it has fallen to thy lot to hold subject and submissive to thy full will and pleasure a knight so renowned as is and will be Don Quixote of La Mancha, who, as all the world knows, yesterday received the order of knighthood, and hath to-day righted the greatest wrong and grievance that ever injustice conceived and cruelty perpetrated: who hath to-day plucked the rod from the hand of yonder ruthless oppressor so wantonly lashing that tender child.
    Miguel de Cervantes  --  Don Quixote
  • "That point in misery, which makes the oppressed man regardless of his own life, makes him too Lord of the oppressor’s."
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Deerslayer
  • …there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there’s the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would these…
    William Shakespeare  --  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • Is he in a hardened or a softened mood, he still lays his injuries equally at that door; he was thwarted, in that quarter, of a set purpose, and that purpose could only originate in the one subject that is resolving his existence into itself; besides, it is a justification to him in his own eyes to have an embodied antagonist and oppressor.
    Charles Dickens  --  Bleak House
  • And I know not which be darker,—no, not I. But this I know: in yonder Vale of the Humble stand to-day a million swarthy men, who willingly would "…. bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes,"— all this and more would they bear did they but know that this were sacrifice and not a meaner thing.
    W. E. B. Du Bois  --  The Souls of Black Folk
  • Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels  --  The Communist Manifesto
  • …opportunity and audience to orate, his eyes already glazed with that cessation of vision of people who like to hear themselves talk in public: ’At this time, while our country is struggling to rise from beneath the iron heel of a tyrant oppressor, when the very future of the South as a place bearable for our women and children to live in depends on the labor of our own hands, when the tools which we have to use, to depend on, are the pride and integrity and forbearance of black men…
    William Faulkner  --  Absalom, Absalom!
  • 3:18 There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.
    The Bible  --  Job
  • 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
    The Bible  --  Proverbs
  • For nothing is more customary in man than to recognize superior wisdom in the person of his oppressor.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 2
  • And how prosecute you him who in action is a deceiver and an oppressor, Yet who also is aggrieved and outraged?
    Kahlil Gibran  --  The Prophet
  • The nation was usually too weak to preserve the public peace or protect the people against the oppressions of their immediate lords.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • 54:3 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them.
    The Bible  --  Psalms
  • The Achaeans were now reduced to the dilemma of submitting to Cleomenes, or of supplicating the aid of Macedon, its former oppressor.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • On that warm gray morning in the mountains, Zhivago felt sorry for the Tsar, was disturbed at the thought that such diffident reserve and shyness could be the essential characteristics of an oppressor, that a man so weak could imprison, hang, or pardon.
    Boris Pasternak  --  Doctor Zhivago
  • To the long list of indictments against the King, he had added oneassailing the English people, "our British brethren," as a further oppressor, for allowing their Parliament and their King "to send over not only soldiers of our common blood, but Scotch and foreign mercenaries to invade and destroy us."
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • If ever you waver in your resolve, think of the Mockingjay, and in her you will find the strength you need to rid Panem of its oppressors.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Mockingjay
  • He imagined to himself vicious and unfortunate people whom he would assist by word and deed, imagined oppressors whose victims he would rescue.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • They were our first oppressors.
    Elie Wiesel  --  Night
  • You have oppressions and palpitations of the heart?
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Were I in your place, I would frame high notions of my birth; and the thoughts of what I was should give me courage and dignity to support the oppressions of a little farmer!’
    Emily Bronte  --  Wuthering Heights
  • No one would have admitted that the Christian and charitable people were happy to think of their oppressors’ turning forever on the Devil’s spit over the flames of fire and brimstone.
    Maya Angelou  --  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • I’m the oppressed, and there are my oppressors!
    Jules Verne  --  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
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as in: oppressive heat Define
to make uncomfortable (weigh heavily on the senses or spirit)
  • The heat is oppressive.
  • She is oppressed by her insecurity.

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  • a mental disorder which oppressed him
    Edgar Allan Poe  --  The Fall of the House of Usher
  • I did not mention the constant feeling of insecurity which oppressed my spirits.
    Harriet Jacobs  --  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • ...who sleep in the big armchairs, made drowsy by the oppressive heat of the stove.
    Guy de Maupassant  --  The Diamond Necklace
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  • The cockpit was oppressively cramped, forcing pilot and copilot to live cheek by jowl for missions as long as sixteen hours.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken
  • In 1931, Japan tested the waters, invading the Chinese province of Manchuria and setting up a fiercely oppressive puppet state.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken

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  • Today, however, the weather was oppressively hot, and Jack sat near the cash register, fanning himself.
    Sampon Davis, et. al.  --  We Beat the Street
  • How will stabbing one another in the back help women to rise above patriarchal oppression?
    John Green  --  Looking for Alaska
  • The air outside sat as still and oppressive as the air inside.
    John Green  --  Looking for Alaska
  • Engines howling, wheels spinning, they proceeded through the forest at the pace of a walk, in continual rain and oppressive heat.
    Richard Preston  --  The Hot Zone
  • Since the citizens don’t need to be protected by the military and they don’t live under oppressive military rule, they neither love nor fear soldiers.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • People tend to oppress each other, not cooperate for their common good.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • It’s—oh, I don’t know—something oppressive, like thunder: I can’t tell what; but it worries me.
    Richard Adams  --  Watership Down
  • The chamber at the top of the steps was dark, smoky, and oppressively hot.
    George R.R. Martin  --  A Dance With Dragons

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  • What oppresses you—solitude, or the company of others?
    Eugene Ionesco  --  Rhinoceros
  • BERENGER: [to JEAN] Solitude seems to oppress me.
    Eugene Ionesco  --  Rhinoceros
  • The restaurant is dark; it has a heavy Mediterranean decor that Cal finds oppressive.
    Judith Guest  --  Ordinary People
  • The Martials conquered Scholar lands five hundred years ago, and since then, they’ve done nothing but oppress and enslave us.
    Sabaa Tahir  --  An Ember in the Ashes
  • August in Florida means three things: heat, oppressive humidity, and school.
    Katja Millay  --  The Sea of Tranquility
  • Nonetheless, such is the enduring power of prejudice and preconception that I idly foresaw an abode—as I say—of dim, even funereal oppressiveness.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • I suppose these things are as real, and as oppressive, to the people who grew up there as this place is to me.
    Margaret Atwood  --  Cat’s Eye
  • I know it’s because they never wanted me to struggle like they did, but it could be a little oppressive at times.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Longest Ride
  • Too much of the population is oppressed, and this growing cell has bought in to the idea that they could rule the country themselves.
    Kiera Cass  --  The One
  • It’s kind of oppressive, but I like that the air is wet.
    Gayle Forman  --  Where She Went
  • The fantastic stories he’d invented about his life during the war—the monsters, the enchanted island—had become completely, oppressively real to him.
    Ransom Riggs  --  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Her memories were more oppressive than any cell walls.
    Kass Morgan  --  The 100
  • I convinced myself that I was some kind of white knight, a trial lawyer who defended the rights of the accused against an oppressive government.
    Scott Pratt  --  An Innocent Client
  • One of the heroes admired by all, who helped Chairman Mao liberate China from oppression and defeated the Americans in Korea.
    Ji-Li Jiang  --  Red Scarf Girl
  • His abode at the Heights was an oppression past explaining.
    Emily Bronte  --  Wuthering Heights
  • But he is generally melancholy and despairing, and sometimes he gnashes his teeth, as if impatient of the weight of woes that oppresses him.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • From that room, too, the daylight was completely excluded, and it had an airless smell that was oppressive.
    Charles Dickens  --  Great Expectations
  • Then, as I looked up at it, while it dripped, it seemed to my oppressed conscience like a phantom devoting me to the Hulks.
    Charles Dickens  --  Great Expectations
  • There was the most terrible oppression, injustice, poverty worse than anything we can imagine.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • The silence of the forest was more oppressive than the heat, and at this hour of the day there was not even the whine of insects.
    William Golding  --  Lord of the Flies
  • At thy good heart’s oppression.
    William Shakespeare  --  Romeo and Juliet
  • I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered.
    William Shakespeare  --  King Lear
  • — This accident is not unlike my dream: Belief of it oppresses me already.
    William Shakespeare  --  Othello, the Moor of Venice
  • "Yes, I feel a kind of oppression," she said in reply to the prince’s question as to how she felt.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • "Come now, let us talk of you," she added, tossing her head, as though she would physically shake off something superfluous oppressing her.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • That was before he came to me, but the recollection of it is oppressive to him even now.
    Charles Dickens  --  David Copperfield
  • ’You shall not be oppressed by the receipt of favours, Miss Trotwood.
    Charles Dickens  --  David Copperfield
  • Now and again the clumps of people raised the cheer of the gratefully oppressed.
    James Joyce  --  Dubliners
  • Nowhere did we stop long enough to get a particularized impression, but the general sense of vague and oppressive wonder grew upon me.
    Joseph Conrad  --  Heart of Darkness
  • I trust that I am not more dense than my neighbours, but I was always oppressed with a sense of my own stupidity in my dealings with Sherlock Holmes.
    Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Tom’s reflections grew oppressive.
    Mark Twain  --  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • And Maggie was so oppressed by this dreadful destiny that she had no spirit for a retort.
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • My wife was curiously silent throughout the drive, and seemed oppressed with forebodings of evil.
    H.G. Wells  --  The War of the Worlds
  • Her parents, formerly amusing figures in a story, became oppressively real in sight of the wide, brown, porchy house.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • V. His half-hour journey with Madeline into Zenith seemed a visible and oppressing thing, like a tornado cloud.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • Our will—the will of the disinherited, the forgotten, the oppressed—shall weld us into a solid bulwark, with a common faith and a common goal.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish.
    Kate Chopin  --  The Awakening
  • Why can there not be among them one martyr oppressed by great sorrow and loving humanity?
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Brothers Karamazov
  • He did not know why, but he felt oppressed by the vague sense of impending calamity.
    Jack London  --  The Call of the Wild
  • The Overlords seemed largely indifferent to forms of government, provided that they were not oppressive or corrupt.
    Arthur C. Clarke  --  Childhood’s End
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